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Sheffield Wednesday: Joey Phuthi can be Moore’s next Johnson

Sheffield Wednesday‘s focus this season will be completely on earning promotion back to the Championship, which means it is perhaps unlikely that fans will see too many youngsters blooded into the first team.

Darren Moore has a huge amount of experience available to him in his first team but there are positives and negatives to be taken away from the fact that the Owls boast the highest average age of any League One side so far this season.

The average age of Moore’s starting teams has been 28.6, which suggests that he will soon have to turn towards younger players to replace the older ones in his side.

He could find a replacement for 31-year-old left-back Marvin Johnson in academy talent Joey Phuthi, with the teenager impressing in the U18 side in recent games.

The 17-year-old, who can play as both a left-back and a right-back, is yet to make his first-team debut for Sheffield Wednesday but will no doubt be well-known by Moore, especially after his performance in the FA Youth Cup last week.

The U18s beat Burton Albion on penalties to progress through, following in the footsteps of the first team who defeated Morecambe at Hillsborough to seal their own spot in round two.

When the Owls were trailing the Brewers, it was Phuthi who stepped up to provide a sensational assist for the equalising goal.

Sheffield Star reporter Joe Crann shared the footage of the youngster on Twitter, as he raced down the right-hand side after showing great skill and pace, before crossing the ball back for Bailey Cadamarteri to score.

Crann said: “Great assist from Joey Phuthi here. He’s come on loads in recent months, looks really exciting.”

A versatile, pacey full-back will have Sheffield Wednesday fans believing that he can step up as Johnson’s replacement in the first team in a few years, as the former Middlesbrough man has been re-imagined as a left-back under Moore’s management and has become a key player in the side, contributing four goals and 11 assists in 64 appearances for the Owls.

However, he is out of contract at the end of the season, so perhaps Phuthi could make the step up to the first team as his natural heir sooner rather than later.